An African refugee rescued from distress at sea goes ashore in Algeciras, Spain.
The migration expert Luigi Achilli on the relationship between refugees and smugglers, different business models – and the real culprits of the misery.
Mr. Achilli, smugglers are described by the authorities as mean, greedy gangsters who profit from the misery of the refugees. Based on your experience with the smugglers, is that a fair description?
It’s way too simplified. I don’t condone the tragedies and I don’t exonerate the smugglers. They are often complicit in tragedies. But the oversimplification neglects the central role of states and the European Union in these abuses. From the migrants’ point of view, describing smugglers as evil, unscrupulous human traffickers is factually incorrect. Extensive research shows that they are perceived as benefactors and even heroes.